How to become a secondary school teacher

Guide young adults through their high school years in this rewarding and highly needed profession

What should you study to become a secondary teacher in Australia?

You will need a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Education) or a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education) to become a registered teacher in your state or territory.

While you can apply directly into these qualifications, there are also other study options if you don’t have a strong academic history.  

Take a look at the table below to see which pathway suits you best.  

Pathways to becoming a secondary school teacher

If you...

You should...

Didn’t get the right ATAR for a teaching degree and need a pathway in Enrol in an Undergraduate Certificate in Teaching Education Studies
Want to try out secondary education study before committing to a qualification Enrol in a secondary education subject or short course
Got an ATAR of 70 or above or have done VET studies Enrol in a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Education)
Have already completed a bachelor degree in any discipline Enrol in a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education)

Discover secondary school teacher courses

Online secondary education certificate

Choose this study option if you didn't get a high enough ATAR for a secondary teaching degree, or you've been out of study for a long time. You can use this certificate as a pathway into a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Education).

Online secondary education subjects and short courses

Start small and learn about an aspect of secondary school teaching, without committing to a qualification. What you study can be credited towards a bachelor degree when you're ready.

Online secondary education bachelor degrees

Become a secondary school teacher in Australia with an approved Initial Teacher Education course. 

Online secondary education masters degrees

Choose this option if you're already qualified in another discipline, but you want to make a career change into secondary school teaching. 

Postgraduate CUR-SEC-MAS

Master of Teaching (Secondary Education)

Postgraduate SWI-MTS-MAS

Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Postgraduate ACU-EDS-MAS

Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Postgraduate GRF-SEC-MAS

Master of Secondary Teaching

What does a secondary school teacher do?

Secondary school teachers lead teenagers through their most formative years, between the ages of 12 and 18 (or Year 7 to Year 12). As a key role model in their lives, it’s your job to share a set curriculum while capturing their interest and encouraging new thinking.

Most secondary school teachers specialise in one or two subjects across Arts, English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS), Technologies or Physical Education, so you'll get to focus on an area you’re most passionate about. You’ll teach a rotation of different classes every day, which means you’ll need to build a rapport with students quickly and take command of the classroom.

Duties and tasks 

  • Design daily lessons plans that follow your state or territory’s curriculum requirements. 
  • Set regular homework tasks, supervise tests and mark assessments. 
  • Write reports and hold parent-teacher interviews to update parents on how students are performing. 
  • Supervise students outside the classroom at assemblies, on excursions and school camps or during extracurricular activities.  
  • Supervise student teachers on placement.
  • Attend staff meetings and collaborate with colleagues on revising school policies.
  • Stay up to date on the latest pedagogies by taking part in professional development activities.

What skills do you need to be a secondary school teacher?

  • Adaptability 
  • Empathy and patience
  • Time management and organisation
  • Leadership and conflict resolution skills
  • Creative problem solving skills

Meet Brendan

Brendan Coutts is a passionate high school teacher who believes in lifelong learning—not only for his students, but also for himself.

Watch him talk about his study journey through Open Universities Australia.

Read his story

What is the average secondary teacher salary in Australia?

A high school teacher’s salary will vary depending on their location, experience and whether their school is private or public. 

Look at the table below to find out the starting salary for graduate teachers in your state or territory.

State or territory Starting salary for graduate teachers 
South Australia $74,769 per year
Tasmania $74,824 per year
Victoria $75,726 per year
Australian Capital Territory $76,575 per year
Northern Territory $77,047 per year

$78,000 per year

Western Australia $78,397 per year
New South Wales $85,000 per year

Source: State Department of Education figures, as of November 2023

Why is secondary teaching a good career choice?

  • Teachers are highly sought-after, not just in Australia, but around the world. This gives you the gift of job security, plus the freedom to move wherever teachers are needed, including overseas.  
  • Every day is different. Your students will surprise and challenge you constantly, which means your career will never be boring.  
  • You can make an impact. Teachers help young people understand the world, wrestle with new ideas and prepare for adulthood. Everyone remembers how their favourite teacher influenced their life—and you could leave that legacy.  

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Student stories and study advice

5 inclusive teaching strategies to know

Start practising these strategies in your classroom now, or bookmark them for your learning journey. Inclusive school communities equal inclusive societies, period.

What is inclusive education?

Inclusive education is about students of all abilities, backgrounds and identities learning and growing together. Read more about the positives, negatives and practicalities here. 

Why teaching is a good career choice

Teaching could help you find purpose and make a genuine difference in the lives of young people. Here’s how. 

What is TESOL?

Want more than a traditional teaching career? Life as a TESOL teacher could be the ideal path for you. Let's explore what this teaching specialty is, and why it can lead to opportunities all over the world.

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